After Dark – A Short Story

He waits for night, he waits for her. He remains in his usual spot, his place, always watching, waiting. Watching her.

A car rumbles by, startling him. There are voices, slurred by drink, shouting to be heard over the heavy thump of bass music. He closes his eyes, breathes then opens them again. He couldn’t afford to be distracted. Not tonight, there was too much at stake.

He thought of his partner. She’d be home now, in the loft. Waiting for him as he waited for another. The children too, they would be there. He was devoted to his partner and the children. They had lost one, their youngest after just days. They did all they could. They watched him fight for life but his frail, delicate body just couldn’t cope. They were powerless to help. He blinks into the darkness. There was no time for grief, not with three other mouths to feed.

He twists his neck in the gloom, adjusts his footing. She is still in his sights. He watches her small, slender body as she steps delicately in the dim light of the moon. Her eyes are gleaming, full of life. But it is time.

He takes flight.

His wings are silent as he hovers amongst the reeds. His eyes wide. Legs outstretched, talons poised. He dives. An elegant silhouette plunging to the ground, grasping her. The life quickly drains from her tiny body. The light from her eyes flickering. One life taken to sustain another.

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